Premarital and Couples: An Affair Myth: Not Getting Enough at Home | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | |

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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Premarital and Couples: An Affair Myth: Not Getting Enough at Home

Uploaded: Apr 26, 2019
In her book NOT "Just Friends" Shirley Glass, Ph.D. writes about the research she has conducted about affairs. One result blows away an old myth: That the person having the affair wasn't getting enough at home. The truth is that the person having an affair wasn't GIVING enough at home.

When you are giving to your partner, you can't help but be more involved, present, and attuned. Being attuned is a very important part of a secure attachment. It's what "good enough" parents do for their children much of the time. A good enough parent is aware of the child's moods and needs, and verbalizes what s/he sees in the child (e.g., "You seem a little sad, did something happen at school today?") This is how children learn the language of feelings.

Many adults never learned to be attuned to their own feelings, body sensations, and thoughts as they were growing up. There can be many reasons for that. One that I see a fair amount is that the child was busy taking care of a parent (emotionally, if not physically) in order to feel (or be) safe at home.

How do you feel safe with your partner? How do you let down your guard and tolerate feeling vulnerable as you are building trust and intimacy? Sometimes it seems easier just to have an affair, especially if you're "just friends" with someone you're not married to and you begin to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with him/her. Over time, you may share less with your partner and more with the friend. The balance of intimacy is shifting outside the marriage.

Try giving more at home and less away from home. Remember, you're the one giving either way.
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Posted by Rabbi Feldman, a resident of Atherton,
on Apr 27, 2019 at 10:14 am

Rabbi Feldman is a registered user.

This frequently occurs when:

(1) Husband/boyfriend no longer 'listens' or pays any attention, OR

(2) Wife/girlfriend no longer physically attractive to Husband/boyfriend

(3) AND/OR vice-versa!

In each event, someone is either prone to straying or relegating oneself to an unfulfilling life.

I am a counselor too & the only difference is that my advisements are always free. I don't charge for illuminating 'common sense' realities.


Posted by Divided We Exist, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Apr 27, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Divided We Exist is a registered user.

> I am a counselor too & the only difference is that my advisements are always free. I don't charge for illuminating 'common sense' realities.

You're a good man Rabbi. The problem is that countless people lack common sense!

Professional counselors (like many lawyers) are oftentimes a waste of money . To charge $350 an hour just to ask someone , "What do you think?" is preposterous.

Unless these 'professional' counselors are leading a stellar 100% successful existence in their own right or whatever field they are counseling, I take them with a grain of salt.

Would you take flight lessons from someone who couldn't fly an airplane on their own accord? Probably not.

Posted by Flexible Fidelity, a resident of Rex Manor,
on May 3, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Flexible Fidelity is a registered user.

@Divided We Exist, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,

"The problem is that countless people lack common sense!"

On a side-note, whenever any politician is pushing for a new law and claims this new law is "common sense", you can be sure it is neither common nor sense.

Back to the issue at hand...

"Would you take flight lessons from someone who couldn't fly an airplane on their own accord? Probably not."

I recently heard a point of view on this question I think is worth sharing here.

Basically, a member of a church went to his preacher about feeling like a hypocrite for something he had done and something he had told others.

The preacher replied by saying that the church was home to hypocrisy because all preachers are also "sinners" and yet they spend all their time preaching to the flock to not commit "sins".

Another interesting question is more specific to the Catholic church.
Why would anyone take advice about intimate relationships when Catholic priests are forbidden to have intimate relationships?

For the below I am talking only about consenting adults choosing to be in the relationship. Not abuse.

My life has had a variety of intimate relationships with widely varying definitions of "cheating" and I can attest to the fact that the level of sexual activity at home can indeed cause what many people would call "infidelity". Which may or may not violate the couple's definition of "cheating". The specific types of sexual activity are also a big factor in outside sexual activity.

I know that some therapists have a somewhat rigid set of rules on what is or is not "healthy" in any relationship, but in my direct experience and among the couples I have known over my lifetime, any rigid set of rules or assumptions about what motivates people are rather counter-productive.

When it comes to individual intimate relationships, each case is it's own unique situation and can only be judged or aided or guided by considering the relationship as a whole with real depth of understanding.

Only then can a therapist go beyond the standard:
"So, how does that make you feel?"

Not that I think there is anything wrong with just asking a new patient such mundane questions over and over again, but everyone should understand that the patients are healing themselves and the therapist is just acting as a (hopefully) neutral sounding-board.

I assume that most preachers do essentially the same much of the time.

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